Restaurant server in Carmel pays it forward, picks up customer’s tab having a bad week

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — A part-time restaurant server is getting some well-deserved praise on social media and quite a few tips, too. It seems appropriate because of what he did — picking up the tab for a customer.

A photo from another customer caught the moment when Ernest Weni paid the bill for a woman who was having a hard week.

It happened on Saturday during the lunch rush at Chuy’s on Michigan Road in Carmel.

Weni said the woman comes in on a regular basis and he knows her by name. Usually, they get to talk a little bit, especially with the capacity limits imposed by the pandemic. But this time, he was just too busy to be able to talk.

One thing was clear, she was having a tough week. So, when he brought the bill, he set it down for just an instant and then said ‘I’ve got this one.’

The customer was so happy, she started to cry.

“It’s pretty exciting to see a customer get excited and say ‘Hey, you took care of my meal. I’m so happy.’ They can leave the restaurant knowing that somebody cares about them there,” Weni said.

The moment was caught by LeeAnn Herrera and her daughter Lila who were eating nearby. They posted the photo on social media and soon the offers started coming in to bless him financially and pay it forward like he did.

“For him to pick up somebody’s check, I mean he’s getting less tips right now at 50% capacity but he did that without expecting anything in return,” said LeeAnn Herrera.

“It just made my heart feel so warm inside to see that act of kindness,” added Lila.

Weni said he’s done this before and it comes with his wife’s blessing. He adds, even in a tough time, your character may be all you have and he wants to love others the way Jesus would.

The job at Chuy’s is just part-time. He’s also the head soccer for the freshman boys soccer team at Zionsville High School.